Wolverine: Adamantium Rage
Wolverine: Adamantium Rage is a 16-bit platform-action video game released for both the Super NES and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in 1994. The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version was published by Acclaim and developed by Teeny Weeny Games, while the Super Nintendo version had LJN as the publisher, and Bits Studios as the development studio. Both versions of the title were developed separately and differed from one another in some key areas, but their opening storyline and gameplay remain similar. It's one of the first video games to feature a recharging health system, though Wolverine has been able to recharge his health in previous X-Men games.
The SNES version follows Wolverine as he receives a mysterious transmission via computer. Someone or something has information about his past and arranges for them to meet at an undisclosed location in Canada. It's here where the game's first stage begins: a laboratory teeming with armed guards and sentry robots.
The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version has a narrative that is a little more vague in its presentation. Wolverine is shown holding a photograph of someone from his past, and expresses his desire for revenge. He is then sent a message via computer that shows him the procedure that he underwent which bonded adamantium to his bones. It's at this point where the same laboratory level begins without much explanation as to why, or how Wolverine got there. The instruction manual says the computer message directs him to the Weapon X Laboratory.
The rest of both games see Wolverine chasing down details to his past while meeting and battling several villains along the way. Bosses include Albert, The Hunter from Darkness, Sabretooth (missing in the Super NES version), Lady Deathstrike, Cyber, Shinobi Shaw, Bloodscream and Trevor Fitzroy.
Both versions are action/adventure platformers, and the player guides through large multi-floored levels, attacking enemies or solving puzzles to give him access to new areas. The SNES version requires a set amount of enemies to be destroyed before entry to the next area is granted. Both versions have a time limit that expires if the player takes too long, whereupon the character Elsie-Dee automatically finds Wolverine and kills him, wasting one of his five lives (Genesis version) or giving the player a game over (Super NES version). Both games feature a password function that enables the player to continue the game at any level. Both games give Wolverine a percentage of his available health, always starting at 100%. Upon taking damage, his energy will recover overtime thanks to his mutant healing factor. The SNES version has this being a slower process, but the Sega Genesis players have the benefit of a countdown timer to let them know how close Elsie Dee is to finding Wolverine – this timer is reset at specific check points.
Wolverine has different move sets based on what version the game is being played. The SNES only grants Wolverine one main claw attack, but has Wolverine being able to climb on any wall or ceiling with his claws, and able to make springing leaps, and perform high jumps. The more action focused Sega Genesis/Mega Drive version has Wolverine being able to perform a multitude of claw attacks, and has a double jump that rolls Wolverine up into a ball and travel short distance. The Sega version also gives the player a lunge attack which can be used to jump great distances as well as attack, and a quick roll which travels a great distance along the ground and allows the character to go under all enemy bullets.
Each stage is usually ended with a boss confrontation, and these differ from level to level between each version as well. Despite being quicker paced, and more combat focused, the Sega version game also places more emphasis on basic puzzle solving and level navigation, and not forced enemy destruction like the SNES version does.
The SNES version of the game received mixed to positive reviews, while the Genesis version received generally negative reviews. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the SNES version a 6.2 out of 10, remarking that, "Wolverine has plenty of moves and lots of technique, and fans of the comic character will definitely want to check this one out. But in the end, it's routine action." GamePro raved that "Sharp graphics, nonstop action, and intense challenges make this game a formidable opponent for any supergamer!" They commented that the graphics and animation were comparable to "a comic book come to life."
GamePro panned the Genesis version, criticizing the generic design, lack of excitement, and most especially the controls, which they stated are so poor that even clearing the first level is almost impossible. They concluded, "When the highlights of a game are its mediocre graphics and sounds, that should trigger an immediate red flag." Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it a 4.25 out of 10. Though their four reviewers were divided about the game's graphics, they unanimously commented that the controls are remarkably poor. Two of them also complained about the number of "instant hits".
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- "Review Crew: X-Men". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (66): 38. January 1995.
- "Wolverine: Adamantium Rage". GamePro (IDG) (67): 31. February 1995.
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